My mother used to say this to me each night as a child when she tucked me in bed. I always had a giggle at the idea of bed bugs…little did I know that these critters are very real and DO bite! People have been dealing with bed bugs for centuries – which is where the goodnight saying originates. I feel itchy just thinking about the little critters.
Bed bugs don’t discriminate between rich and poor, with many hotels, theatres, and even retail stores running into trouble with the tiny parasites. Part of the problem is the fact that we now travel overseas so much more than we did in times past – and you never know what extras you may have picked up along the way.
So how do you know if you have bed bugs on board? Any unexplained inflammation, itching, infection, or redness on your body can indicate the presence of bed bugs. Doctors say that they don’t carry diseases, so at least we can rest assured for now on that front! Tiny blood spots (look almost black) on mattresses, sheets, or furniture can be an indication of bed bugs (or fleas, if you have pets that sleep on your bed!). The actual bugs look like tiny apple seeds and are a chestnut brown colour.
Are you itching yet? You can prevent an infestation by ensuring that there is no clutter in or around your bed, vacuuming often, using hot water for washing your bedding and sleepwear, drying bedding using the clothes dryer, and keeping your suitcases and clothes in the wardrobe rather than under the bed when you travel and use overseas accommodation. They tend to like mattresses as a home base, so using fitted elasticated sheets is a great deterrent.
If you think that you have a bed bug or three already then use essential oils such as peppermint, lavender, thyme, neem, and eucalyptus on your bedding, carpeting, and in the rinse cycle of your wash. Using a herbal sachet can also send these bugs packing –black walnut, thyme, lavender, mint, cayenne, eucalyptus and garlic are great dried herbs to keep in between your mattress and your bottom sheet. You might want to blend some oils to take travelling with you and spray about the carpet and soft furnishings before you settle in to your hotel room!